Thursday, July 10, 2014

Burnt Books: Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav and Franz Kafka

Written by: Roger Kamenetz

First line: Once a tale was told by Rabbi Nachman about a wise man who journeyed to find a portrait of a humble king.

Why you should read this book: In 2003, I was supposed to take what sounded like an amazing class about Kafka and Kabbalah in Prague with Kamenetz, but apparently I was the only person who thought it sounded amazing, because no one else signed up, the class was cancelled, and I had to read the books on my own, meaning that I didn't learn anything about Kabbalah. This book seems like it might contain some kernel of what would have been in that course, as Kamenetz creates a magical history, comparing the lives of two renowned storytellers and bringing the ghosts of both men on his own mystical journey to enlightenment. It's sort of hard to sum up what this book is actually about, but its an amazing voyage through literature, psychology, religion, belief, faith, magic, fear, hope, and mysticism, which kept my interest to the last page.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You would have signed up for the seminar about the Czech revolution.

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